Masters Men

Detroit Cycling Championship Team Recap

September 16th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter

September 9th saw big time bicycle racing return to the Detroit area. The Detroit Athletic Club put on the inaugural Detroit Cycling Championship. This event had a large purse ($45K!), and drew both amateur and pro teams from around the Midwest region and our friends to the east, Canada.

The course was interesting as well, though rather challenging. Three of the main roads used ran the perimeter of Comerica Park, where the Tigers play Major League baseball. Between corners #2 and #3 was a pretty good downhill that generated speeds in excess of 30 mph. From here there was a short section between turns #4 and #5, then #5 and #6, and back onto the long, slight uphill straight. And, being inner streets of a major city, the patched pavement and utility covers were plentiful, with the worst examples of the former on the course’s fast decent. Add a quality prize list and the accomplished riders that show for such a draw, and you’ve got a technical race that was fast and strung out from the gun. Having frequent primes only ramped things up more.  Moving up and maintaining position was a challenge, especially since the opportunity to transit through the field of riders was muted by the speed, and dive-bombing corners was a common occurrence.

The ample purse meant a lot of new riders, and opportunities to have different race classes combined compared to the normal Michigan scene. This meant not only grouped category 3s and 4s races, but category 2s and 3s as well. There was also a full masters class. Ultimately, this left the racers on Team Athletic Mentors the opportunity to not only get a couple of events in, but to race with each other when we normally don’t get that chance.

Toeing the line in the combined Cat. 2/3 race was Terry Ritter, Rich Landgraff, Luke Cavender, Collin Snyder, Ross Williams, and Bobby Munro. Like all the races, this one was fast. Collin won a prime early on, then took a flyer to try to get away with three laps to go. However, there was too much horsepower for anything but a sprint finish.

Ross and Bobby were active in their Cat. 3 only race, with Ross attacking for a prime and then Bobby countering the next lap to try to get away. Great to see some tactical racing from our up-and-coming racers.

The Masters race was all three categories (35+, 45+, 55+), and it made for a large field but interesting dynamic. It wasn’t slow by any means (the 35+ group assured that), and there was a national champion kit in the mix as well. Richard, Peter O’Brien, and Terry doubled up (Peter was in the Cat. 3 Masters race earlier), with Jonathan Morgan joining the crew.

Elaine was our sole female Team Athletic Mentor rider and competed in the Cat. 3/4 race, as well as the Cat. P/1/2/3 race. Like the other races, the group was rarely grouped together, and the later race was especially fast. There were a few teams that were recognizable from the National Criterium Championship race earlier in the summer.  With this being Elaine’s first year of serious road racing (not to mention criteriums), she did very well and represented the team impressively.

The final event of the day was the Pro/1/2, slated for 80 mins. A lot of big regional teams were there and it was super fast. Dan Yankus, Collin, Peter Ehmann and Jonathan started. Many riders didn’t finish due to the pace. Eventually, a group of 5 got away, including two Bissell Pro riders, that lapped the field. Then, with about 10 laps to go, there was a crash that left a few riders in need of medical attention and the race was halted, only to restart after the break with a fast conclusion. With a $200 prime on the second to last lap, the pace was high…until the group passed the first corner as the last lap bell was ringing. Bissell slowed a bit around corner #2, with Daniel taking advantage and shooting up near the front on the outside. Unfortunately, a number of riders dive bombed the inside corner, pushing Daniel and the Bissell train towards the outside and into the barriers, causing a crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too badly and the race finished on that lap. Collin came home with 30th on the evening.

Not getting enough racing for the weekend, Bobby, Daniel, Collin, Terry and Ross headed to Uncle John’s 56 mile gravel race north of Lansing on Sunday. Glen Dik joined the mix. The team was active early, with Daniel finishing fourth out of the small break that got away from the rest of the field. Collin got 6th overall and Terry came in 13th, and 3rd in the 47-51 age group. Elaine and JoAnn Cranson competed in the women’s 24 mile race as well.

There are rumors that next season the Detroit Criterium Championship will be earlier in the season and hopefully on the national cycling calendar. With the positive support and great organization of this year’s inaugural event, there’s little doubt this can grow bigger and better, showcasing the renewal of our great city.


Comebacks, Low-Carb, and that Little Race Up North

August 28th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Terry Ritter

Back on May 13th of this year, during the first lap of the inaugural Port City Criterium, I took off after a break and rolled my tire in the fast downhill corner. I was able to scrub off some speed but this tumble at 30 mph left me with a hairline fracture in my left scapula and a right one in four pieces. For good measure, I also compressed three vertebrae and broke two ribs. Though not needing surgery was a good outcome, I was worried right away that I might not be ready for my favorite mountain bike race, Ore to Shore. I’ve faithfully competed in 17 of the 19 editions.

My shoulders have been deteriorating for years and I have been less than optimal on keeping up on the exercises needed so they stay MTB functional. That meant in the 2016 O2S my shoulders got the best of me and I completely came apart with ten miles to go, getting dropped from my group in a new single track section. I feared the same thing for this season. However, I was diligent with my recovery and physical therapy, pushed myself to get back on the bike and race as soon as I could (week 6 post crash), and hoped for the best.

One thing that didn’t need more confirmation was how switching to a lower carbohydrate diet had left me less need to consume nutrients during an event or ride. Two winters ago I did an experiment with Cricket and Mark of Athletic Mentors, doing metabolic testing (VO2 Max and Aerobic Threshold) work to see how doing a ketogenic diet (very low-carb) would impact my cycling. More specifically, I wondered how it would increase my fat burning, which it improved greatly. However, at least in the 4 month experiment we used, I lost a significant enough ability to do work anaerobically (short term power) that I had to bring some sugars back into my diet to be effective with a number plate on my bike.

What else was it like being a ketogenic athlete (also called “fat adapted”)? Well, our bodies burn glucose if it’s in our diet significantly, and that’s the case for most. For this reason, the brain and nerves are committed to using glucose. When it’s too low, we bonk. But, the hallmark of a ketogenic adaptation is to give the brain and nerves another fuel, one the muscles and other organs happily burn as well: ketone bodies. And the liver can make these all day from our own fat stores. This allowed me, at least for those 4 months, to totally disconnect my eating and working out. I did 1800-2000 kcal workouts and hadn’t eaten in 6-8 hours, something I could never have dreamed of in my past high carb. life.

When I did reintroduce carbs. during the race season,  I cut them back significantly from the “aerobic athletes needs carbs. for fuel” mantra I’d heard for decades. And, my power came back. However, I also noticed a significant reduction in what I needed to take in to race well during an event. My daily dietary carbs. through the season typically run 200g or less, depending on training days, many days 100 or less.

How does this math workout in a race? A calorie is just another unit of work, so a power meter, which measures kilojoules very accurately, can determine this value within a few percentage points. The 91 mile Cherry Roubaix took about 3100 kcals to complete. I did have a reasonable breakfast, but only had to take about 600 kcals in during the ride. The Ore to Shore was likely in the 2500 kcal range for work, but I only consumed about 400 kcals during the event…and didn’t finish either effort with any signs of hunger.

The net result is I have learned I don’t need to consume what now looks to be ridiculous levels of carbohydrates to able to perform well. Going this route has enhanced my fat burning ability, meaning I can use my own body stores, a good thing for other reasons besides athletic performance. And, though this is an entirely different topic, I believe it’s much healthier to consume fewer carbs., likely as little as we can. So, this bodes well with where I want my health to go.

The futile attempt to remove the special “mud” that exists at times in the Marquette area. We had some pretty substantial water on the course this year, creating rust colored puddles filled with iron particles. I have to give it a try, though, and now this kit will serve as attire for all O2S races in the near future.

Oh, and how’d the Ore to Shore end up? Well, I was just hoping to get to that place 10 miles before the finish still able to race the race. Darn if all that physical therapy didn’t do the trick and I was able to hang with the top 3 guys (and gal, as the lead women raced with us) as they attacked our group of 15 and made a separation. I was able to push all the way to the finish. This was good enough to squeak in 54th overall. Now, all I have to do is find the motivation to keep these shoulders stronger without rolling around on the pavement as motivation.

 


An object at rest stays at rest . . .

July 11th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Aric Dershem

Newton’s 1st Law of Physics: An object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

sunrise

My brain is in shock as I try to determine where the noise is coming from. It takes me a few seconds to gain just enough consciousness to reach over to the bedside table and fumble around, eyes still closed, searching for the off button on the alarm clock. When I finally muster enough dexterity to flick the off button, I begrudgingly pull off the covers and swing my legs over the bed. My feet hit the hardwood floor with my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. I look at my watch. 4:46 am. Even though I’m only in a semi-conscious state, I need to make a choice right now. Stand up and get moving or fall back into the warmth of my bed and the comfort of my pillow. The latter sounds so inviting at this time in the morning, but there’s a small part of me that knows that this is my only chance. This is going to take the force of my will to get moving. If I’m going to ride today, I have to ride now.

aric lights

Over the next several minutes I slowly emerge from my grogginess into a state of complete consciousness. It’s chilly outside – chillier than it should be for early June. I have a hard workout on my training plan for today. I find myself having an all too familiar conversation in my head – What am I doing? Isn’t this supposed to be fun? Some days, this whole “cycling thing” feels more like a job.

It’s 5:20. I ratchet my shoes tight and pull on my helmet and glasses. As I step out the door, am smacked in the face by the cool early morning air. I dread the chill that seems to go right through me when I start riding, but I’m committed at this point. I check my setup – rear flashers are on, one solid front light and one flashing front light. The Garmin has satellite connection and the power meter is calibrated. I swing my leg over the bar and hear the familiar sound of my cleats clipping into my pedals. One press of the start/stop button and my Garmin is capturing every bit of data about my the ride I am about to take. With a few standing pedal strokes, I’m down the driveway and out onto the road.

Even in these pre-dawn hours it takes about 20 minutes to get out of town. I have the roads mostly to myself. There’s an occasional car, but I’m more likely to see rabbits, racoon or deer. Nearly every stoplight I hit is flashing. I’m able to roll-up and (usually) roll through. The sleep is out of my system by now and I’m enjoying the feeling of acceleration when stand-up on my pedals. I feel the almost metronomic rhythm of my pedals as my wheels roll resolutely over the pavement – I focus on smoothing out my pedal strokes. Occasionally I look down at my Garmin to check on my progress, but mostly I take in the familiar landmarks as I slice my way through the city.

aric morning1Now that I’m riding the chill in the air no longer bothers me, instead the cool air hitting my skin feels refreshing. The thoughts of my warm bed have long left my head. I’m focused on the ride. My legs feel alive (even if they’re a little sore) and the sensation of speed as I focus my energy into my pedals is unlike any other.

Most non-cyclists think I’m crazy for riding on the road (they think it’s too dangerous). Many of my cycling friends think I’m crazy for riding this early in the morning (it is an ungodly hour to be awake). Regardless, these early morning rides have become the staple of my training. Like today, it usually takes a little extra effort to get out the door, but once I’m on the road, there are rewards waiting for me. Sometimes, the reward is just the sense of accomplishment that comes from surviving a hard workout while others are sleeping. Other times, the reward is the opportunity to greet the sunrise and experience the awe of the new day coming over the horizon. Every day I find myself moving relentlessly over the road, I’m rewarded by feeling a little more alive.

I check my watch and see that it’s almost 7:00. The morning traffic is in full flight with commuters rushing to work. I have to double-check behind me before making a left turn and watch for the drivers distracted by their coffee or their phones. By this point, the hardest work is usually behind me. I just feel the exhilaration of accelerating from intersection to intersection. I know that the ride is over soon – time to finish strong. I almost never hit the final intersection on a green light. This is a good place to call it a ride. I hit the “Start/Stop” button on my Garmin again. Just a short easy pedal home and I’m there.

As I roll up the driveway and see my family scurrying around the house as they being their morning routine. I pull up to the back door and unclip from my pedals. I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m 35-miles into my day and ready to face whatever comes. That feeling of forward motion carries me into my day – I feel like there’s no stopping me . Now I just need to remember that feeling tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off . . .

aric sunrise 2

 

 


Eyes in the Back of Your Head  

November 1st, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Aric Dershem, Team OAM NOW Cyclist

As road cyclists, we love the feeling of the wind in our face (and even better, the wind at our back). We love the way the road rolls below us as our feet push and pull the pedals. We love seeing the countryside pan by us as we cover mile after mile under our own power. We love the sound of a quiet drive train propelling us forward. We love all these things about road biking and so many more. We find it difficult to imagine why anyone would not love road cycling and hard to explain why we love it so much.

Unfortunately, we have all heard stories about close calls or experienced firsthand confrontations between motorists and cyclists. This year seems worse than ever with far too many of these confrontations ending tragically.

We love to be on the road, but we must also recognize that a real element of risk exists every time we roll down our driveway and into the street. There are some things that research is telling us that we can do to dramatically improve our safety on the road. A recent study sponsored by a major bicycle manufacturer found that there are three primary actions we can take as cyclists to protect ourselves. They use the mnemonic, A+B+C to help us remember these.

A)    Always on lighting – 80% of bike accidents happen during daylight. Having lights on even during daylight hours attracts the attention of motorists and helps us stand out.

B)    Biomotion – When we highlight the motion of our bodies using reflectors, this makes us more recognizable as humans to drivers who might be otherwise distracted.

C)    Contrast – High visibility and reflective gear helps us stand out day or night.

Even before this recent study came out, I made the commitment to run lights every time I take the road. I am one of those cyclists who usually rides alone and most often early in the morning (before sunrise). For me, riding with lights is essential both for me to see and be seen. One morning as I waited at an intersections at 6 am, a woman pulled up next to me and rolled down her window. I was naturally expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised by the interaction. She leaned over to the passenger side window and said, “I could see your lights a half-mile up the road. Thank you for being so visible.” Interactions like this only confirm the value of being visible to motorists. Now, I never hit the road, day or night, without lights.aric lights

I personally recommend the Bontrager Ion 800R headlight and Flare R rear light. Both are small, compact, come with a versatile (and interchangeable mount) and are rechargeable using a standard microUSB cable (included). These lights can be purchased at great trek dealers like Speedmerchants Bike Shop. While you can often find less expensive light, the 800 lumen front light provides a strong enough beam to ride at night while the Flare R is bright enough to be highly visible even in full daylight. The only problem with the Flare R is that on its high setting, some people may not want to ride behind you because it’s so bright.

marie lights

In addition to making ourselves visible, there are other relatively new technologies that we can use us safe. RoadID, maker of the prolific ID bracelets, offers a free app for your mobile phone that will text a link to anyone you designate when you leave for a ride. The link takes the recipient to a map showing where you are on your ride and will automatically notify them if you stop moving for more then 5-minutes without turning the app off. My wife and I use this constantly to make sure that we can be notified if something happens to either of us while out on the road.

Perhaps my favorite piece of safety technology is my Garmin Varia rearview. I received this as a gift ast year for Christmas and had no idea how valuable this would be. The Varia is a rear light with multiple flashing modes. While it is not as bright as the Flare R, it is still part of my everyday setup because the Varia rearview essentially give me eyes in the back of my head. That’s right, the Varia is rear-facing radar that alerts my Garmin head unit when a vehicle (or vehicles) are approaching me from behind. This allows me to keep my focus on the road ahead of me while still being aware of what is coming from behind me. I have found this to be especially useful when I’m riding on busy roads with high traffic speeds or roads with especially narrow shoulders. Having used this technology for the past year, I have to say that on those rare occasions when I don’t ride with my Varia, I miss it. The ability to know when traffic is approaching allows me to ride defensively without constantly looking behind me to see if anything is coming. It makes my rides both safer and more enjoyable.

garmin lights

At the end of the day, 99.9% of us ride for the fun it offers us and the challenge it presents to us. Like any activity, it comes with some inherent risks, but we can take some deliberate steps to reduce that risk. Over the past year, I have become increasingly aware of my role in staying safe on the road and I’m grateful for technology that allows me to be more visible to the drivers I’m sharing the road with and have eyes in the back of my head. Let’s all do our part to make the road safe for everyone so we can all enjoy the benefits of the road together.


Landgraff Grabs a Win at Inaugural Corktown Crit

August 17th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Richard Landgraff, Team OAM NOW Masters Cyclist

 

corktown

The weather looked ominous the morning of the 1st annual Corktown Criterium.  Set in the shadow of the old Central Train station in Detroit, the course was just shy of a kilometer and had 7 turns, some of them tighter than 90 degrees.  As the field was beginning to warm up, the rain began to fall and continued at an accelerated pace as about 40 of the combined 45/55 Masters rolled to the line for the start of the race.

 I knew that a good start and staying at the front of the pack was going to be necessary in order to finish well in the timed 45 minute event.  At about 1 minute per lap, the first 20 laps were all about staying upright in the pouring rain and holding the wheels at the front of the field.  A few attacks took place as well as a few primes in which I bided my time waiting for a good moment to make a move on the field.  With about 20 laps remaining, I decided to make an acceleration out of the first corner.  I know that if I could get a gap, that I could take the corners faster than the rest of the pack…and I was right.  Chris Donnelley from Team O2 jumped on my wheel and we worked well together each taking a turn at the front each lap.  As the laps continued to tick down our lead grew from about 8 seconds to over 30 and I knew that we would be able to stay away.  

With two laps to go, I was making a plan of how to beat Chris for the victory as he is a pretty fast sprinter.  Coming through with one lap to go I was on his wheel, but as he slowed down out of corner #2 I attacked him knowing that hopefully I could get another gap through the last 5 turns.  As he tried to get on my wheel through one of the tight corners, I heard him go down on the wet pavement…so much for having to sprint…I soft pedaled a bit to make sure that I stayed upright and soloed in for the win!  Fortunately for Chris he was not injured and because we had such a big lead, he was able to come across for 2nd.  Also in the field was Pete O’Brien for Team OAM NOW who was able to secure 2nd place in the 55+ field behind the old pro .

Landgraff Corktown crit Landgraff corktown podium


BTR / Maple Hills Race Weekend Highlights

July 13th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

It was a busy weekend of racing, coaching, cheering, and volunteering this weekend for Team OAM NOW who came out in force for the BTR Crit and Maple Hills Race for Wishes.  It was a big weekend as Maple Hills was the 2016  state championship road race and  BTR was the state championship criterium for women, masters and juniors.   It was a great showing for the team with a successful Friday night skills clinic to kick off the weekend and nearly every race sporting some OAM NOW blue and orange kits. The racing was highlighted by two overall state champions as well as success stories in nearly every race.

Elite Men

Guelzo podiumIn the 87 mile men’s Cat 1/2/3/ road race on Sunday, Andy Guelzo stole the show taking the win in a sprint finish from a six man breakaway.  Andy was in strong company with Tom Burke and two Bissell ABG riders Aaron Beebe and John Leach.  But Andy was patient and delivered a brilliant sprint at the line to take the win.

Dan Yankus followed closely  in a chase group taking seventh.  With teammates up the road in breaks, the rest of the mens team finished in the main field.

Sunday’s win was a big relief to the team after a disappointing showing in the crit on Saturday.  Although  OAM NOW riders were part of every breakaway throughout the race, the field came back together in the final laps.  With a large Cat 1/2/3 field and a strong wind on the backstretch of the course, positioning was everything and the team ran out of real estate on the final lap. Andy  led the team in 14th place, followed by Dan in 19th.

 

Women

It was a great weekend for women’s racing with strong and deep fields lining up both days.  Road captain Marie Dershem was joined by Kaitlyn Patterson, JoAnn Cranson, Danielle Nye, Laura Melendez, and Elaine Sheikh, the biggest showing for a women’t cycling event this season.

In the 60 minute crit, Kaitlyn Patterson broke away from the field alone 15 minutes in, enduring the windy backstretch and  eventually lapping the field to take the win.  After Kaitlyn was clear from the field, Marie began attacking and also broke away to take second and first in the Cat 1 / 2 race.

In the road race, the OAM NOW women  faced a challenge with City Hub Cyclery and Hagerty fielding strong teams.  The first half of the race rolled at a pedestrian pace, with an unfortunate crash taking down Danielle Nye and several other riders.  The attacks began on the biggest climb on the second of three laps as Kaitlyn got a gap but was pulled back and the field came back together.  On the final lap, the race was neutralized during the deciding climb as the field was passed by the Masters 35+ men.  With most of the riders still together, the nuetralization drastically changed the race dynamics.  With a deciding climb rendered irrelevant and nobody willing to pull or attack, Kaitlyn drilled the last 12 miles in the attempt to thin down the field and give Marie the best chance at the win. Despite the effort, 15 women stayed intact and the title was determined in a field sprint. Marie claimed fourth and second in Cat 1 /2 with Elaine and JoAnn finishing in the top 13.

TeamOAM Women's triathletes in Michigan, managed by Athletic Mentors, elite endurance sport coaches

 

Maple Hills debuted a Masters 40+ womens race this year with several riders taking on the challenge after racing the morning Cat 1/2/3/4 race as well. In an impressive double, JoAnn  took the top step of the Masters race in a sprint finish after 90 miles of total racing.

Elaine was one of the only Cat 4 riders to finish with the main field in the morning and she recovered quickly to also race in the Cat 4 race in the afternoon, taking sixth. This capped off a strong weekend for Elaine, after taking third in a sprint finish in the Cat 4 race at BTR.

 

Masters Menstate championship

The Masters Men had strong showings all weekend.  On Saturday, Richard Landgraff rode to a 2nd place finish in in the BTR crit for the 50-54 State Championship. Leonard Van Drunen just missed the podium, taking fourth in a four man break  in the 55+ race.

 On Sunday, the 7 masters riders monitored all the moves throughout the day and the race came down to a field sprint with Jon Morgan taking second and Rich in third  place in the state championship 50+.  The team was joined by new rider John Meyers who was instrumental in countering breaks with Terry Ritter, Mark Olson and Mike Wyzalek, and perennial strongman Chris Abston.

Juniors

Three OAM NOW juniors took on the tough double race weekend including new team member Joe Meyers as well as Christian Dershem and Hunter Maschke.  Joe took third at BTR and took the top step in the 15-16 age category in Sunday’s road race, Hunter joined Joe on the podium taking third.

joe meyers RR

Full BTR Criterium Results can be found here.

Full Maple Hills results can be found here. 

 

 

 

 

 


In Pursuit of the “Trifecta”

June 23rd, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter,  Team OAM NOW Masters Cyclist

For the last decade I have been in awe of the acts of one man: Raymond Dybowski. Oh, sure, I’m with everyone else when it comes to being mystified at his ability to casually escape the main group and just roll away. The non-threatening vibe his motion exudes boggles the mind when you realize he’s done it a number of times and actually had success. No, what I hold “Big Ray” in reverence for is the rarely seen “Trifecta.” This is when you do 3 different Criterium races on the same day. Typically, with our structure in Michigan, that means a Masters 45+, then 35+, and followed by a Pro 1/2 race. I have witness his attempts a few times, and always thought it’d be a cool thing to try.

Unfortunately, the structure of our road teams prevents me from just doing a 1/2 race, even though I have a Cat. 2 license. If I did two other events in a day, I’d be useless to the boys, and that likely would be bad form. However, a special situation came up with a Criterium in Galion, Ohio. They not only had a more sedate (I hoped) 50+ Masters race (I am officially 50 on my racing license this year), but also a 40+ right after. Then, a few hours and the P/1/2/3 race would start as the sun was setting. This could be my chance!

If I had this control over other factors of my life, I would not have worked 12 hours on my feet the day before, or driven 3+ hours to get to the event. Oh, and also would not have pegged the thermometer at 90+ the entire race day. But, I was signed up, had my trusty co-pilot and teammate Andrew Guelzo along (he spins the tunes), and lots of ice in the cooler.

The 50+ Masters race had a dozen riders, two of which were actually familiar faces: Scott Kroski of the Wolverines, and Hendry Swinty of the Ft. Wayne Outfitters. The former I see weekly and the later races in Michigan a lot, and quite successfully. My hope was this small group would be easy to watch from the back, and also not be too charged up with the heat and a 45 min race duration. That prediction was correct and I camped out and drank lots, letting others close gaps as I followed. Then, with 6 laps to go, Scott took a flier. Being a fellow Michigander, I really couldn’t chase, so I waited to see if anyone else would. A few guys worked at the front, and someone made a weak attempt to go across, but it all brought us back together with 2 laps.

Terry grabbed a podium in his first race of the day- Master's 50+

Terry grabbed a podium in his first race of the day- Master’s 50+

By this point I was setting third wheel and watching the front. Scott had slotted right behind me. With two quick turns and then an uphill grade and 300 m to the line, I was ready.  But as the guy in front of me jumped as the leader went wide on the second to last corner, I hesitated. By time I shortened the gap we were ready to sprint, and I effectively gave Scott a decent leadout. He got second and I held on for third. My mistake and hats off to him for aggressive racing.

 

Scott, Henry, and I lined up for the 40+ race, which was the same duration. Still thinking I should be conserving, I did get a little more assertive in my position, and this allowed me the sight of seeing a guy bolt on the second lap. I watched to see if anyone would follow and, on the third lap, a guy jumped out and gave chase. At this point, there was still 40 mins of racing and it was easy to talk myself into not moving. I figured Henry or Scott would eventually try. The lead duo was about 30 seconds up with 30 mins of racing when Henry struck out. After he rolled 50 meters and I didn’t think anyone was going to follow, I bridged out.

The pace was high but I figured I’d get a chance to catch my breath as it was obvious we were cutting the gap down and the main group was left for dead it seemed. But, the head wind and Henry’s diminutive size made it hard for me to get any rest. After 4 laps of chasing we had cut the lead down to 12 seconds with 20 mins of racing left. Henry jumped when I was gassed on a pull and I couldn’t close it down. Andy said I had 30 seconds so I pushed through in TT mode the last 6 laps and finished in 4th .

When I asked Henry how he did against the two lead guys, he stated he never caught them…and that he needed one more guy to help him. I stood there speechless, with the satisfaction that there is racing karma after all.

With a few hours before the P/1/2/3 race, I hung out in the shade and chatted with Ross Williams, who races Cat. 3 on our team. He had came down with his parents from Traverse City. Just then a gust of wind knocked Ross’s Giant Propel over. This seemed innocent enough until Ross came back from his attempted warm up to show me a very bent derailleur hanger preventing any reasonable shifting. Fortunately, I had a spare and he was up and running again in less than 10 mins.

Terry, Andrew, and Ross line up for the P/1/2/3 race at Galion

Terry, Andrew, and Ross line up for the P/1/2/3 race

The final race started at 8:00 pm and 91 degrees. The field was about 30 guys, with Ross, Andy, and I at the line. It started fast enough, then it got faster. About 10 mins in a rider had taken a wheel change and came from the wheel pit, past the peloton, which was averaging 27.5 MPH, straight to the front and then off the front! The group picked up the pace for the next 10 mins, which preceded to pop me and a few others. Eventually, the young buck lapped the field that was down to about 15 riders with 5 laps remaining.

For me, that wasn’t the most excitement. Just as Ross was coming unhitched from the back, Andy rolled through with the group but was obviously off the pace and looked like he’d given up as he crossed the start/finish line. I figured he was going to spin, so Ross, Jeff Johnson from EPS (another Michigan team) and I went out. We never ran into Andy and, upon returning to the course, the various stories started coming in detailing his demise.

Ross’s parents were holding Andy’s bike and explained they were told Andy crashed…but that made no sense. After I talked to an official, they said he’d stopped at a corner marshal and was being treated by paramedics. Still kitted up, and with my race wheels on, I rolled over to the direction they pointed. There, a corner marshal explained that Andy had came through after the group and the guy had to catch him to prevent him from falling off his bike. Andy then started ripping of his equipment. Finally, some paramedics took him to the hospital. At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. But, Galion is a small town and, sure enough, the kind people at that corner gave me easy directions and I was at the ER in 10 mins (still on my bike, in a skinsuit that displayed the salt of three races).

Unfortunately, they had no record of Andrew. I left a number and headed back to the race course only to get flagged down by Ross’s dad, telling me Andy was back and fine. Sure enough, I found him talking to a young woman, with his magnetic smile on full display. He explained how he’d gotten a terrible cramp in his side and couldn’t go on, how he’d gotten to the corner marshal but about fell over, and then couldn’t stand having his clothing on any longer. I pretended to follow but was just happy he wasn’t suffering from any condition that would require treatment.

From there we licked our wounds, packed up the car, and headed back to our great state. We’d had some fun, even experienced an adventure, and made some new friends. Next year, though, I have to be a little better prepared if I ever hope to mirror my endurance hero, as I missed out on my own Trifecta.


Landgraff Takes on Back to Back Races at Sylvania Crit

June 16th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Richard Landgraff, Masters Cyclist

richard landgraff

Richard competing earlier in the season

It was a beautiful day on Sunday for the annual Sylvania Cycling Classic in Ohio.  Temperatures were in the mid 70’s with a slight breeze from the north which made the short technical course all the harder.  About 25 racers lined up for the Masters 35+ race which was spirited from the beginning.  Being the only OAM NOW masters racer in attendance and with plans to race the Masters 45+ race immediately following, my race plan was to ride near the front, but try to save as much energy as I could.  Well that plan went right out the window about 15 minutes into the 45 minute race as I found myself making a solo attack off the front and hoping that I would get some company for a breakaway.  No one followed so I stayed by myself off the front for a couple of laps and then eventually got caught by the field.  I continued to ride aggressively and tried to stay near the front as there were some crashes on one of the tight technical corners.  As the laps wound down, I realized that being in the top 5-6 going into the last lap was the only way to have a chance at the win.  With about 2 laps to go, another rider took off and managed to stay away for the win, albeit by only a couple of bike lengths.  I had a good position coming into the final corner and came across the line in 5th place.
slyvania crit results

A quick water bottle fill up and cool down was all there was time for before the start of the Masters 45+ race.  I wondered if this was a mistake to do both races back to back as I struggled a bit in the first few laps but I managed to settle in and actually felt pretty good throughout the race.  An early breakaway of two got away with one rider eventually falling back to the group and the initial rider staying away for the win.  The small field did not have the willpower or horsepower to chase too hard although the race was hard and fast at times.  Similar to the prior race, I positioned myself toward the front in the last few laps and was able to sprint for a 6th place finish.

Not too bad for two races back to back on a tough course.


A Course of Action

June 10th, 2016 by Marie Dershem

Tragedy. Senseless. Horrific. Heartbreaking… there are so many words that help us describe what happened in Kalamazoo a few short days ago. Five cyclists lost their lives and four were severely injured because of one person’s decision to drive recklessly. And we feel devastated, angry, distressed, anxious, deeply saddened, vulnerable and helpless.

So many words… but words can only take us so far. We want a course of action. We need to have something to do. We want to support those who have lost loved ones, demand justice for the actions of the man who caused this tragedy, and remember all who have been hit and injured or killed while cycling.

The ride of silence just 24 hours after this tragic event was a moving display of care, support, love and remembrance. The fund for the victims’ families has been established and is growing. These are immediate opportunities to give and support and raise awareness. We must grieve the loss, feel the feelings of anger and sadness.

But, what about a month from now? A year from now? How does this impact us? What course of action, long term, can we take in response to such tragedy? I believe we can allow this to change us for the better. We can be bitter, or we can make things better. As I ofen tell my children, we can’t prevent bad things from happening to us or those we love. The only thing we can control is our response to it. We can grow bitter hearts and resentment, or we can grow character and resilience

So, as we move from our deep sense of grief into a time of response, let’s consider how this can better us and better our community.

On the practical side:

bike safety picWhen you drive, show patience to cyclists. Give cyclist ample room (5’) when you pass them. Remember that they are more than just cyclists. They are someone’s son or daughter, someone’s brother or sister, someone’s father or mother. However rushed you feel, remember that carelessness is not worth the risk or the 5 seconds you might save.

When you drive, vow to never, ever receive or send a text or email while driving. Ever. I hope it goes without saying that it is never acceptable in any way, shape or form to drive under the influence.

If you are a cyclist, follow the rules of the road, always.

Help to educate your community about cyclist’s right to be on the road and how to keep cyclists safe.

Volunteer at a cycling event to help keep participants safe.

Be as visible as you can when you ride.

Follow that instinct to do something – you’ll find what that thing is for you.

On the emotional side:

cycle with friendsEvents like this remind us how fragile life is. I know it is cliché, but speak your love to your loved ones. Hold close those friends who make your world a better place.

Remember that life, good health, and physical activity is a gift. We are blessed to be able to ride. Ride with joy. Ride as a celebration of life and health. Ride with friends and embrace the community cycling has given to us.

Let’s vow to keep our priorities straight . . . Live with joy. Ride with gratitude. Love with your whole heart.

ride for life


OAM NOW Masters Squad Rocks Spring Gravel Classics

April 23rd, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Richard Landgraff, OAM NOW Masters cyclist

Although they might not get the same glory as the first riders across the line, masters racers often make up a huge portion of the overall field making for a consistently competitive battle for the podium.

The Team OAM NOW Masters squad has posted some impressive results already this season at two gravel road races with weather at opposite ends of the spectrum- a frigid, windy and wet Lowell 50 and a warm, dry and dusty Barry Roubaix.  OAM NOW cyclist Richard Landgraff recaps the masters team performances in both races.

Lowell 50

Richard Landgraff and Chris Abston after surviving a wet, frigid Lowell 50

Richard Landgraff and Chris Abston after surviving a wet, frigid Lowell 50

The weather forecast did not look promising in the week leading up to the spring edition of the Lowell 50.  With temperatures in the low 30’s, winds gusting to 40 mph and the potential for snow, there were many riders (including myself) who were not looking forward to racing in such brutal conditions.  But we are bike racers, and on the Saturday morning before the Tour of Flanders the very next day, the weather was actually not too bad or so we thought.  With about 60 riders in the main field for the 57 mile event, the pack rolled out for the approximate 2 km neutral start to the covered bridge.  As racing began in earnest, it was quickly apparent that the strong winds were going to play a hand in the outcome of the race.  Also, the overnight rains had left many sections of road soft and the potholes filled with water.  The first real test of the race comes at about the 5 km mark with a climb that’s named “Rude Awakening” as a Strava segment.  The name was indeed appropriate as there were many riders who lost contact with the main group on that first climb.  The paced settled in a bit after the climb and I looked around to see that all of the main favorites were still in the field as well as most of my OAM NOW teammates.   

The next 20 km of the race is fairly hilly and the pack generally stayed together with a few attacks and some solo breakaway attempts from other riders and teams, none of which stuck.  The decisive part of the race comes at about the 25 km mark for a number of reasons, the biggest today of which was the brutal crosswind that put most of the riders in the gutter as the pack made a left hand turn northward on a stretch that would last about 4 km.  As gaps started to open everywhere, I gave it my all a few times to stay in contact with the main field.  As we turned back east out of the cross wind, I had survived and readied myself for the next turn north which would blow the race wide open.  With only about 25 riders left in the main field, the pace eased up slightly as the field wound it’s way to the southeastern most part of the course and as we made the turn back north onto Barker Road, the attacks came fast and furious.  My goal was to follow wheels as best I could and when I saw my teammate Chris Abston follow an attack, I knew that I would be in a good position not to have to work to bring anything back.  I glanced up the road and it was carnage- a couple small groups of 2-3 riders and it was the same behind.  Over the next couple of kilometers, the groups consolidated with eight riders up the road and then a chase group of nine, including Chris and I. 

A snowy downtown Lowell awaited the hearty riders

A snowy downtown Lowell awaited the hearty riders

As we raced back toward Lowell mainly into a head and cross wind, the storm that had been forecast began to come down in full force.  It began to snow, flurries at first and then a steady snow as one rider got away solo and the rest of the group of stayed together notwithstanding numerous attacks including one from me on a climb about 12 km from the finish.  We did lose a couple of more on the finishing hills back toward Fallasburg Park and soon we were turning back onto the paved stretch of finishing road.  The sprint began about 250 meters from the finish and in the end, Chris placed 13th overall (3rd in the 40-49 category) and I was right behind him in 14th place (1st in the 50+ category).  All in all a great day and finish for Team OAM NOW in the Lowell 50 (57 mile) spring edition. 

Full results can be found here.

 

Barry Roubaix

Course conditions and tire/bike selections were the talk amongst the team in the week leading up to Barry Roubaix 2016.  With forecast temperatures in the mid 70’s, the pre-race course reconnaissance indicated that the gravel roads would be loose, soft and dusty- and were they ever.  The wave 2 field for the 62 mile race included nearly 400 riders with Richard Landgraff, Chris Abston and Terry Ritter riding for TEAM OAM NOW.  All of us decided to ride cross bikes with a mix of file tread and road tires.

barry roubaix swagA good start position and being able to be at or near the front when the race hits the gravel roads were going to be the keys to the day.  After the first 10 km and the “Three Sisters” climbs, the field was reduced to about 50.  As the race progressed back onto the pavement and began the Gunn Lake Road climb all of the riders were thinking of their position going into the Sager Road two track, which was coming in the next 10 km.  The race pretty much blew apart on the sandy two-track of Sager.  Chris and I managed to make it through unscathed as there were numerous crashes and riders having to dismount and run through the deep sand.  We turned out of Sager and hammered up the next few hills to catch back onto the small group of leaders which eventually grew to a group of about 30.  At this time, we were unaware that a group of about eight riders were ahead of the main field, a fact which we realized several kilometers later as a couple of the main favorites were no longer in the main group.

The race continued along the dusty roads and as the pack hit the main climbs including The Wall and Cloverdale Hills, riders continued to lose contact with the group.  At this point in the race with less than 40 km to go, the goal was to conserve energy for the last few climbs toward the end of the race.  The main pack was down to about 20 or so riders as the field came onto the finishing 5 km of pavement.  I attacked on the last climb and managed to hold off all but three of the chasers to finish 2nd in the Masters 51+ category and 40th overall.  Chris Abston and Terry Ritter finished a strong 16th in the Masters 40-50 and 62 overall, and 44th in the Masters 40-50 and 127th overall, respectively.

Richard Landgraff takes second in the masters category

Richard Landgraff takes second in the highly competitive  masters 51+ category at Barry Roubaix

Full results can be found here. 



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